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Sliding beater on David Loom

I’m weaving a cotton warp, quite happily and I like the sinking shed, and quiet operation.  I am, however, finding that the wooden nuts that hold the beater and reed assembly together keep loosening.  On Ravelry you suggest a looser warp and really tightening the nuts.  I was reluctant to really reef on the nuts in case I stripped them off the plastic and wood caps.  That won’t happen?  Also, as per the suggestion when assembling the beater, I rubbed soap on the metal rods.  So far that is working OK … can I switch to machine oil after there is a layer of soap on the metal?  Or will the combination muck up the works?  Which is preferable to your mind? I am a little concerned about all this because the beater wobbles a bit when I beat.  I don’t beat hard, one firm but not forceful beat, then treadle keeping the reed still pressed up against the fabric.  I can feel the play between the top of the beater and the shuttle race.  So do you have any other suggestions besides warp tension and possibly changing the wooden nuts to wing nuts?  The assembly doesn’t feel sturdy and I’m worried I’ll damage the beater if I continue to use it with this looseness.

I would not worry about tightening those nuts harder.  I do tighten mine up between every project or two.  Our David’s have been running full tilt with the new beaters now for over a year.  In that time I have removed the rods once and given them all a really good cleaning.  I have since changed to spinning wheel oil,  just a drop near the beater every couple of projects. My beater snuggly holds the reed and doesn’t wobble so I’m not sure where your wobble is coming from.   There is a small amount of movement coming from the rods lifting at the back when the beater is against the fell of the cloth.  The rods aren’t super snug in their holes so there is a bit of movement there, but it doesn’t bother me and it won’t hurt anything.  You can’t damage your beater from just weaving. Let me know if this erases some of your worry or if you think it is worse than this.

Thank you for writing back.  I waited for a day or so to reply so I could weave some more and compare your comments with my experience.  I think you are right, the feeling of movement is coming from the rods lifting at the back, as well as the wooden blocks that they sit in.  Today I’m going to see if tightening those blocks helps too.  And I’ll keep in mind that if the beater gets stiff running on the metal rods in the future, I’ll remove them, clean them up, and then try machine oil.  I use high speed bicycle chain oil for my spinning wheels and bobbin winder so I will try that when the time comes, unless you think that is a terrible idea.  The chain oil has never gummed up my wheels and works well.

As long as the oil is very fine I’m sure it will be perfect.  Those blocks should be attached very tightly….they are fixed to the loom this way so that you can adjust the height of the beater.  If you were weaving with a high tension then you might have to raise the beater and you would do so by adjusting those blocks.  Whatever your tension….you want the warp sitting on the shuttle race when the shed is open and the adjustable blocks that the rods sit in provide for that adjustment.